We really love the Kennedy Space Center and feel like it is one of those places that you can’t fully appreciate in one visit. In fact, you can save there’s so much to see and do at the sprawling 144,000-acre Kennedy Space Center Visitors’ Complex, it’s good to arrive with a game plan. You can go to their website to answer 3 questions and get a custom itinerary or follow ours below.
We’ve been here several times and our plan always involves starting with the bus tour. Many people get overwhelmed by everything at the main complex, and rush to get on the buses in the afternoon. The bus takes you around the launch sites, including the ones that are leased out to a private company called Space X. You will also travel past the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). After viewing the launch pads, the bus will drop you off at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Here you are treated to a theater re-creation of the Apollo Launch and an up close view of the Saturn V rocket. The giant hall where the rocket is housed is filled with information about all 17 Apollo missions. You can see the Apollo 14 capsule on display, touch an actual piece of moon rock, view the transformation of space suits over the year, and much, much more.
Space Shuttle Atlantis Building
Upon return from the bus tour, we head straight to the Space Shuttle Atlantis Building. This is also a newer exhibit and always busy, so allow yourself plenty of time. The experience starts with a short film about the shuttle program, after which you can view the shuttle up close, check out informative displays, and strap in for the simulated shuttle launch ride which is very cool!
Next, we pick an IMAX movie to watch. There are two IMAX 3D movies that run all day: Journey to Space gives an overview of NASA’s past space accomplishments, current activities and future plans. A Beautiful Planet features footage of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) and demonstrates the effects humanity has had on it over time. They are both really good, so pick the one that interests you most.
On our way back towards the exit, we enjoy wandering through a Rocket Garden. We are always awed by these actual rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and imagine them shooting off toward the stars. Their sheer size is astounding.
Heroes & Legends
We finish up with the Heroes & Legends building. It’s just inside the entrance so most folks stop on their way in. By saving it for the afternoon, it usually is not as crowded. This is a fairly new attraction that is meant to bring an emotional bent to your visit. It starts with an homage to heroism and a 4-D experience highlighting the dangers of space travel that astronauts subject themselves to. The Astronaut Hall of Fame honors the heroes in a grand, solemn room. Don’t go home without taking a virtual selfie with your favorite legendary astronauts as you learn their stories.
If you’d like to see all the Kennedy Space Center has to offer, we recommend coming back for a second day. You can even save $25 on a two-day pass!
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